Scots charity supporting mental health issues wins Charity of the Year 2022

Posted: 23rd June 2022

SMILE Counselling offers a free counselling service to people from 11-24 years-old throughout West Lothian. Their CEO said they were “overwhelmed” when they won the award.

A West Lothian charity supporting young people suffering from mental health issues is celebrating after being named Scottish Charity of the Year 2022.

SMILE Counselling offers a free counselling service for 11 to 24 year-olds throughout West Lothian.

Their dedicated team aims to make a positive difference to the lives of those having problems with family, school, anxiety, depression, anger or even those who just need someone to talk to, but find it difficult speaking to those closest to them.

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The charity’s services include face-to-face counselling sessions, one-to-one phone calls, emails and online chat.

A fellow West Lothian Charity, The Larder, was also shortlisted for the award, The Daily Record reports.

Declan Harrigan, founder/CEO of SMILE Counselling paid tribute to The Larder, saying they found themselves in a category full of very worthy causes.

He said: “We were absolutely shocked and overwhelmed at winning Scottish Charity of the Year 2022.

“In a category full of deserving winners, especially The Larder also from West Lothian, we were humbled and graciously accepted the award not only on behalf of our staff, volunteers, and trustees but on behalf of all our clients, students and participants who all encompass SMILE services. Every charity on the evening deserved to be charity of the year in my opinion.

“The passion, drive, and determination in the third sector to instil change for the better makes me proud every day that I set SMILE Counselling up as a third sector service.

“This award indicates a recognition of the truly demanding, but rewarding, work we are involved in – recognising our amazing team and their willingness to go that extra mile to do what is needed for their clients.

“We don’t want to have to exist for children and young people, however, as long as they need us, we will be there.

“Our vision has always been to be able to replicate what we have done in West Lothian over the last seven years in other counties and this will be part of our future plans.

“No child should be left behind or without support. If this award shines a brighter light on the need for additional services for mental health in children services, then this can only be positive.

“We are very proud to be this year’s charity of the year. We are still emotional and in a bit of disbelief, but we will accept it with pride and as an indicator to keep pushing forward for positive change and it shows that with vision and passion, nothing is impossible.”

The judges said: “They support the young people who come through their doors during times of challenge with a people-led, listening approach to supporting mental wellbeing.

“After a year of huge change and growth, SMILE Counselling continues to offer new projects to support further awareness around mental health and wellbeing, has developed a new training division and will soon have delivered bespoke one-to-one counselling to 1000 clients.”

The award is run annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and celebrates the best of the voluntary sector. This years shortlist included 44 individuals and organisations from charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the country.

Anna Fowlie, chief executive of SCVO said: “At SCVO we know that every day, voluntary organisations across the country are working tirelessly to support the people and communities they help, and are making an incredible impact.

“We’re thrilled to have been able to join together in person to celebrate the achievements of our finalists and winners after hosting the previous two years’ ceremonies online.

“This year’s finalists have all demonstrated resilience, adaptability, and commitment to their communities and it is a privilege to be able to celebrate their successes. Congratulations to all winners!”


Source: Edinburgh Live

Categories: Scotland